In addition to being a criminal defense attorney, Mike is a dependency attorney. The Dependency process is frightening, and fast. You need to get Mike involved early to defend your rights. He regularly defends parents against DCS while also trying to negotiate with them. In other cases, he has been appointed to represent the children, and fight for what they want. Mike also provides Best Interest representation for kids when the Court appoints him as Guardian Ad Litem (GAL). He is also poised to involve you in the process as appropriate as the petitioner for severance, or intervenor if circumstances allow. You can trust that Mike will do what is right. His honesty in action is based in his own personal life - As the father of five (5) children, Mike can immediately feel the pain and anger of having your children taken from you. He can also feel the pain, and see the trauma of removal on the children. He will do all he can to help make things right.
It is important for you to know that a "dependency" is an allegation, a claim against you, by the State (Department of Child Safety) or some other person, that you are unfit or unable to care for your child/children. There could be allegations of substance abuse, abandonment, sexual or mental abuse, neglect, on an inability to control the behavior of the children. This process begins with a hotline call to DCS, and then a DCS investigator looks into the report. If the investigator believes that that removal is needed, then the investigator serves a temporary custody notice on the parent(s). Within seventy-two (72) hours of removal, DCS will hold a Team Decision Meeting to give DCS and the parents of the children a chance to discuss safety concerns that lead to removal, any issues regarding placement, and applicable and appropriate services. DCS when a court document called a dependency petition is filed. That petition is asking the court to bless the prior removal of the children, and grant continued removal and placement of the children.
From this point, there are too many twists and turns in the process to outline here. Please see the documents included here for more information. They are sourced at the Maricopa County Public Advocate's office, along with additional and very helpful information.
Although the process is pretty universal on paper, the eventual outcome of your case will depend on the county the case is in, its individual allegations, facts and circumstances. Lets take a look at it together . . .